2020: The Final Quarter Begins
If ever there was a year that fits and slots right into a nightmare vision of life as living hell, on just about ever matrix known to man, meet 4q20. Where will be New Year’s Eve? It is hard to access, also hard not to overreact to, but wherever we are we will be over a million dead and the USA on the brink of the biggest constitutional crises since the Civil War and nowhere to go but down as the country attempts to end the Covid-19 nightmare.
It sounds like, well fun, but it is as close to fun as popular music in 2020. For recorded music and for videos, it is a year without a centrifugal force, without a balance. Or maybe with too much balance. From the largest to the smallest, best to worst, country, pop, EDM, hip hop, rap, rock, folk, indie, Americana acts, to the worst, it is a straight across layering: land wherever you choose, it won’t matter. The last musical forms to make any splash at all, emo-rap and latino-urbano, are years old.
The world struggles with loneliness to add to less existential concerns as global warming, and the music world finds its major source of income gone: there is a minimal of live concerts and streaming live concerts in real time is zero. The one hope is too singular a hope, Travis Scott turned the concert experience inside out on Fortnite (see below), a real time, yet virtual dreamscape where the visual limits are that of imagination on a playing platform. It might not matter much musically (although Scott defines state of the art), it is a way to go to a concert unlike the isolation booth atrocity that is live streaming.
But that is it: social distancing concerts haven’t worked, charity concerts haven’t worked, isolated one off in cathedral haven’t worked. To put it simply: the live music experience will have to made from the ground up…
So where is music at? Tik-Tok? Tik-Tok is the 21st century MTV only less. All it really does is teach hip hop stars where the hooks are, sending some folks off the platform and into the charts. But since Lil Nas X happened a lifetime ago, it hasn’t mattered as much as you think it has. Musically, there is nothing going on.
This moment in time is one of mankind’s most terrifying moments. While clearly, it is quite literally one world, it is also, quite literally, one world on the verge of imminent collapse.
In a best case scenario, Biden wins and the Covid-19 vaccine is effective and is available throughout the world, so we can begin climbing out of this hole of our own making.